If you have been arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, remember that you have not yet been convicted. An arrest simply means that there is a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a criminal offense, it does not mean you are guilty. You can only be convicted one of two ways, by pleading guilty, or by being found guilty in a court of law by a jury. However, even with an arrest, there are several very important steps you have to take immediately to ensure that you have the best possible results.
- Check your Citation
When you are arrested you will be given a citation. This citation will state the charge against you, and the time and date upon which your Arraignment will be. This court appearance is not optional, it is absolutely mandatory. Failure to appear at this court date can result in a bench warrant out for your arrest, and/or an additional charge to the charge you are appearing for in the first place. Make sure you calendar this appearance date, it is important and make a note of the Court in which you will be required to appear. Also check the penal code or vehicle code section under which you are being charged. This will define whether it is a misdemeanor or felony, and what you are being charged with.
If you did not receive a citation, then you will not have yet been charged. Keep an eye on the mail, as a charge can get sent to you weeks later. If you do not receive the citation right away, it does not mean you are free and clear.
- Schedule a Consultation with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer
Being arrested is generally a scary and nerve wrecking experience. Many attorneys specialize in DUIs and have over thirty years of experience. They can review the facts of your case and assess for its strengths and weaknesses and what arguments and defenses can be presented. Furthermore, attorneys generally have a strong relationship with the Court and prosecutors and are better able to negotiate deals, sometimes even before a case is filed.
Picking the right attorney is important. Many will offer a free consultation so you should go and meet with the attorney so that you can get a feel for the attorney before you commit to retain.
- Schedule a DMV Hearing
After you have been arrested for a DUI you have ten calendar days to schedule a DMV Hearing. At a DMV hearing an officer will hear you case and make a determination as to whether your license will be suspended and if so, for how long. This is completely separate from the Court case. If you fail to schedule your DMV hearing, then they will automatically suspend your driving privileges. This is important to do immediately, but after you speak to a lawyer. If you hire a lawyer, they will do this for you and will schedule a hearing on a day which they are available. If you schedule it on your own, and then hire a lawyer, it is difficult to change the date thereafter.
If you have been arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, take it very seriously. Immediately get things taken care of, do not wait until the last minute!